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Preview: Deborah Lipstadt’s Blog

Deborah Lipstadt’s Blog

Holocaust denial | contemporary antisemitism | free speech | politically correct idiocies

Updated: 2017-10-16T10:47:16.760-04:00


Controversy at Harvard: Muslim Chaplain Suggests Death of Muslim Apostates?


For the past two weeks a controversy has been brewing at Harvard as reported by the Harvard Crimson. Recently it has also been covered in the Forward.

In short, the Muslim chaplain, Abdul-Basser wrote the following to a Muslim student:
great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment [for apostates]) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand.”
In the Crimson article a number of Muslim students were quoted as being quite critical of his stand. He claims that he has been misinterpreted and was not saying that he supports death for converts from Islam. It's hard how to see otherwise, particular in light of his comment about "hegemonic modern human rights discourse."

He, of course, is free to have any religious view he wishes. It is just disturbing to think that this is the point of view being imparted to students.

Durban II: Professor Dershowitz Explains What He Did at Durban II


Take a look at Professor Dershowitz's explanation of his encounter with Durban II. It's quite revealing.

Jane Fonda and Anne Frank: Banned in Beirut


There is an interesting oped in today's Wall St. Journal on censorship in Beirut by William Marling:

A professor at the American University here recently ordered copies of "The Diary of Anne Frank" for his classes, only to learn that the book is banned. Inquiring further, he discovered a long list of prohibited books, films and music.

This is perplexing -- and deeply ironic -- because Beirut has been named UNESCO's 2009 "World Book Capital City." Just last week "World Book and Copyright Day" was kicked off with a variety of readings and exhibits that honor "conformity to the principles of freedom of expression [and] freedom to publish," as stated by the UNESCO Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.\


Even a partial list of books banned in Lebanon gives pause: William Styron's "Sophie's Choice"; Thomas Keneally's "Schindler's List"; Thomas Friedman's "From Beirut to Jerusalem"; books by Philip Roth, Saul Bellow and Isaac Bashevis Singer. In fact, all books that portray Jews, Israel or Zionism favorably are banned.

Writers in Arabic are not exempt....


All of Jane Fonda's films are banned, since she visited Israel in 1982 to court votes for Tom Hayden's Senate run. "Torn Curtain" is banned: Paul Newman starred in "Exodus." And the television series "The Nanny" is banned because of Fran Drescher.


Even works by self-proclaimed Islamists such as Assadeq al-Nayhoum's "Islam Held Hostage," have been banned, and issued only when re-edited in sympathetic editions (in Syria).

Censorship is a problem throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Though a signatory of the Florence Agreement, the Academy of Islamic Research in Egypt, through its censorship board al-Azhar, decides what may not be printed: Nobel Prize winner Naghib Mahfouz's "Awlad Haratina" (The Sons of the Medina) was found sacrilegious and only printed in bowdlerized form in Egypt in 2006. Saudi Arabia sponsors international book fairs in Riyadh, but Katia Ghosn reported in L'Orient that it sends undercover agents into book stores regularly.

Works that could stimulate dialogue in Lebanon are perfunctorily banned. "Waltz with Bashir," an Israeli film of 2008, is banned -- even though it alleges that Ariel Sharon was complicit in the Sabra and Shatilla massacres. According to the Web site Monstersandcritics, however, "Waltz with Bashir" became an instant classic in the very Palestinian camps it depicts, because it is the only history the younger generation has. But how did those copies get there?

The answer is also embarrassing. Just as it ignores freedom of circulation, Lebanon also ignores international copyright laws. Books of all types are routinely photocopied for use in high schools and universities.


Mr. Marling is a visiting professor of American Studies at the American University of Beirut and professor of English at Case Western Reserve University.

New Book will Ignite a Debate About Roosevelt


See today's article in the New York Times for some recent research which is likely to ignite a debate about FDR's response in the 1930s to the persecution of the Jews. I believe it could be "consensus changing" about his response to the persection.

Interview in JTA


There is an interview with me in the JTA

"History on Trial" Optioned for a Movie


Check out this article in today's Variety and the blog, Cinematical.

As the Variety article notes, the producers of the Soloist have teamed up with Participation Media to make the film. Participation, established by Jeff Skoll, one of the founders of eBay, has made An Inconvenient Truth, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, and the Sesame Street Story.

A caveat: Optioned is a long way from buying your popcorn for the movie.

So sit tight.

HDOT Launches Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Russian Translations


Emory University announces the launch of Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, and Russian translations of material which exposes the charges made by deniers:Elaine Justice: 404.727.0643 office, 404.276.8263 cellHolocaust Denial on Trial (, a Web site founded by Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt to teach about the dangers of Holocaust denial and demonstrate how deniers distort historical evidence of the Holocaust, is re-launching in four new languages: Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Turkish. These translations are designed to spread the original site's messages to areas where Holocaust denial goes the most unchallenged. was founded following the well-known David Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt libel trial. Holocaust denier Irving sued Lipstadt and her publisher for calling him a denier who knowingly twists and distorts the truth of the Holocaust. A British judge found Irving to be an active Holocaust denier whose writings on the topic included both anti-Semitic and racist elements. Despite the success of the Irving trial, online Holocaust denial has increased significantly in the past few years, says Lipstadt. "Deniers are attacking the entire history of the Holocaust piece by piece," she says. "Our site puts basic, easily accessible information into the hands of people encountering sophisticated content designed to confuse them." At each of the new sites, visitors will be greeted by a complete parallel home page, site navigation and content in their language of choice. They will be able to search the site's database in the new languages as well. The new sites are available at:,, and or via "This project significantly expands the reach of in regions of the world where a significant amount of Holocaust denial is happening," says Lipstadt. In addition, has added significantly to its offering of more than 30 Myth/Fact sheets, available in all five languages. These Myth/Fact sheets address Holocaust denial head-on by listing various claims made about the Holocaust by deniers and providing the historical evidence that shows them to be false. Over the past two years, the Myth/Fact sheets have been's most popular destination. HDOT creates new podcast series In conjunction with this launch, HDOT also announces the creation of a new podcast series, available through Emory's iTunes University. The series includes podcasts featuring such figures as Lipstadt, renowned Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander and professor Ken Waltzer, who uncovered fraud in a recent and highly publicized Holocaust memoir. The series also includes interviews with Michael Shermer, a professional skeptic and author of "Denying History," and Father John Pawlikowski, a veteran of Catholic-Jewish interfaith dialogue, speaking about recent events. "As so much of the strategy that deniers employ involves spreading their falsehoods on the Internet, we worked with Professor Lipstadt to have scholarly, authoritative resources available in podcasts. Some of the most respected experts on denial on the Internet are interviewed," says Alan Cattier, Emory's director of Academic Technology Services. The podcasts will form the core of several new lesson plans being produced for advanced high school and college courses that will help educators and the public approach the complex of social, historical, political and ideological issues that emerge in the study of Holocaust denial. The launch was made possible by grants from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and other funders. The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture helped fund the podcast series. is made possible by significant grants from Angelica Berrie and the Russell Berrie Foundation, Gralla Family [...]

Ward Churchill and David Irving: Full of Hubris and Hoisted on their own Petard


Churchill was fired from the University of Colorado for fabricating and plagiarizing in his published writings, sued the university, claiming he was "unfairly targeted for controversial remarks he made post-9/11. CU found him to be a plagiarist with poor academic integrity." (Daily Camera, March 3).

The author argues that

both Churchill and Irving exhibit the same kind of hubris: both felt, and feel, that nothing they could state, no matter how outrageous, could hurt them. Both of these two self-defined geniuses forgot the basic principle of being a successful prevaricator and that is: do not bring attention to yourself when you know perfectly well you have things that you wish to hide or at least not have generally discussed. Both of these two men used either bogus "historical research" works or, when unable to find data for their ideology, created the data out of whole cloth.

Regarding Churchill's court case, the author observes that

Churchill and his attorneys don't even bother to defend their case by solid evidence against the accusations of plagiarism, subterfuge and scholastic inappropriateness made by CU. Instead, their thrust seems to be to try to disregard such charges and claim that Churchill is being persecuted because of his merely unpopular (but very shrill!) article in which he claimed that the victims of the Twin Tower attack of 9/11 were nothing other but "little Eichmanns."

Both Irving and Churchill could have gone along spreading their nefarious lies and fabrications and, in Churchill's case, plagiarism [not one of Irving's "sins" as far as I know] had they not both been blinded by their hubris,

Had Irving not sued me, we would never have exposed the extent of his lies and distortions. Had Churchill not reveled in saying the outrageous there would not have been the in depth investigation of his plagiarism and his lies about his academic record.

[once again thanks to Sara Salzman for bringing this to my attention]

More Soft Core Denial


In another indication that "soft-core" Holocaust denial is on the rise there is a story coming out of Brazil in which an Archbishop Dadeus Grings, from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, told advertising magazine "Press & Advertising" on Friday:
"The Jews talk about six million people killed. But how many Catholics were victims of the Holocaust? They were 22 million in all."

According to the news reports the archbishop also said that while "Jews say they were the main victims of the Holocaust, the biggest victims were the gypsies, because they were exterminated."

This is pure historical gobbledygook. It is simply wrong. Many Christians were murdered but there was no plan to wipe out all Christians, particularly since it was Christians who were running the operation.

And gypsies were murdered. That is correct. But there was not a universal decision on the part of the German Third Reich to kill all gypsies [had the German won the war gypsies might well have been killed in their entirety and/or sterilized].

The difference between gypsies and Jews was that antisemitism -- hatred of Jews -- was the driving force of Nazi ideology.

In any case this Archbishop is one step away from Williamson, except that he is part of the mainstream Church. It will be interesting and telling to watch how the Vatican handles this.

Interestingly the Archbishop is from a German emigre family and is 72 years old.

Fanny Winkler z"l, Cremated in Terezin March 17 1944 [22 Adar]


22 Adar 5769

I am currently in residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A friend of mine, Monica Katz, gave me the names of her grandparents and great grandparents to see if there were any records on them. Since they were from Austria the documentation is pretty complete. [It's much harder -- though not impossible -- to find information on family members from Poland or Russia.]

Yesterday I went into the Survivors Registry division of the Museum to find out if they had found anything. Megan, the researcher working on this project, showed me what she had, which includes deportation lists, emigration files, and a cremation card from Terezin for Monica's great grandmother, Fanny Winkler.

She printed out a copy of the card for me and, as I was walking back to my office, I noticed that the cremation date was March 17, 1944. Yesterday.

I looked up the equivalent date on the Hebrew calendar and it was the 22 of Adar, which began last night and continues through today until night. And, it turns out, her great great granddaughter Caroline's birthday is Adar 22.

So last night and today Fanny Winkler's great grandchildren in Atlanta and Montreal and great great grandchildren in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Montreal and many other places were able to mark her death. This morning her great great granddaughter, Meira, was in synagogue saying kaddish for her.

All for the first time in 65 years.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Pope Benidict Aplogizes for Bishop Williamson Matter


In what has been described as an unusally personal statement, the Pope has apologized for the Vatican's handling of the Williamson matter.

And for those who need a reminder of both the lies Williamson has spread and of the fact of just how much information about him was available, see all these collections of videos.

Holocaust Equivalency [Israel = Nazis] as a Form of Holocaust Denial


I shall have much more to say about this in the near future but for the moment let me note that I am increasingly concerned about the soft-core forms of Holocaust denial one sees particularly in Europe.

Calling Israelis Nazis, comparing Israel's actions to genocide, and other such comments, show an ignorance of both contemporary and WWII history.

Whatever you may think about Israel's policies vis a vis the Palestinians, to compare it to the Holocaust is to distort what is going on today as well as what went on during WWII.

This picture, taken in Malmoe, the third largest city in Sweden, says it all. It reads
1941 Zyklon B 1945 Nuclear bomb
1965 Naplam 1983 Mustard gas [Iran/Iraq war?]
2009 White Phosphorous
(image) [Thanks to Stéphane Bruchfeld for bringing this to my attention. He adds that the demonstration was by youth who clearly did not make the banner. Adults did.]

For Sale Hitler's Hair and Bones: No Comment Necessary


This article from yesterday's Daily Telegraph speaks for itself:

Holocaust Denier David Irving Sets Up Nazi Memorabilia Website

The right-wing author, who was jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust, says that the online store is the only way he can make money after being declared bankrupt in 2002.

Items up for sale on the site include Hitler's walking stick, available for £7,000, and a goblet and spoon given as a christening present by Heinrich Himmler to Hermann Goering's daughter, which can be bought for £4,000.

Irving authenticates the goods, which are offered by other sellers, and takes a 15 per cent cut commission.

The 70-year-old says he is currently trying to confirm the authenticity of bones said to be from Hitler and his girlfriend Eva Braun. Strands of the Fuhrer's hair are also expected to go on sale for £130,000.


Irving was unapologetic about his activities and said there was demand for "authenticated" Nazi memorabilia.

"I have a living to make and this is how I make my money...."

Letter in NY Times on Irving "the historian"


I have a letter in today's New York Times. I was not surprised when I learned that so-called Bishop Williamson's first stop in the UK was to consult with David Irving. Birds of a feather flock together...

I was surprised that the Times chose to describe Irving as an historian.

To the Editor:

“Vatican Calls the Apology of a Bishop Insufficient” (news article, Feb. 28) reports that the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson has consulted with David Irving. Mr. Irving is a fitting partner for him.

Strangely, Mr. Irving is described in the article as a “historian.” When he sued me for libel for calling him a Holocaust denier, the court ruled that his “falsification of the historical record was deliberate” and motivated by “ideological beliefs,” including anti-Semitism and racism.

The judge called Mr. Irving’s writings on the Holocaust “misleading,” “unjustified,” a “travesty” and “unreal.” He “perverts” and “distorts.” This is not the description of a historian. It is the description of a denier.

Deborah E. Lipstadt
Washington, Feb. 28, 2009

The writer is a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University.

LA Cardinal Mahoney Bars Williamson... for the Wrong Reasons


Bishop Mahoney of the LA archdiocese has barred Williamson from from any Roman Catholic church, school or other facility in LA. Apparently this was Cardinal Mahoney's idea.

It is, of course, largely symbolic in that Williamson has not given any sign that LA was on his travel itinerary.

What I found jarring was the statement by the spokesman for the archdiocese. "The cardinal wishes to send a clear signal to the Jewish community that Williamson is not a member or even welcome in the Catholic Church until he renounces his views"

This should not be a message to the Jewish community but to all people who think truth is important -- irrespective of their faith,

It should be a message that people who lie about history, distort the truth, express antisemitic and racist views, and pervert facts in order to defend one of the most diabolical regimes in history are not welcome in the LA archdiocese.

Racists, for example, should be shunned not to send a message to minority communities but because racists spread hatred, instill contempt, and work against communal tranquility.

I don't mean to quibble over this strong statement on Cardinal Mahoney's part. But to do this and define it as a message to the "victims" is to miss the point.

Herman Rosenblat has Company in the World of Baseball: Another Fraudster


Seems that a memoir by a former minor league baseball recruit -- who is now a doctor -- is quite fabricated. Attempts to fact check the stories have come up with all sorts of contradictions and falsifications.

The New York Times notes that the author is a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School now working as an intern in the residency program at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in New York. This is a pretty serious pedigree.

statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible.

Matt McCarthy, the author -- how would you like to have this guy for your doctor -- insists that the book, Odd Man Out, which is full of salacious stories about various baseball players, is true because it is how he remembers it and it is his reality....

Sound familiar? He could be reading from the Rosenblat/Salomon playbook.

Moreover, the paper notes
this scandal comes during a difficult period for the publishing industry, which has recently had three major memoirs — James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces” and the recollections of a Holocaust survivor and of an inner-city foster child — exposed as mostly fabricated. The authors of those books have acknowledged their fraud.
Please note the use of the words "fabricated" and the authors have "acknowledged their fraud."

I wonder if Harris Salomon is going to go after the Times and threaten a libel suit unless they print a retraction.


Delegation from Hollywood Goes to Iran: Did They Ask the Crucial Question?


Seems that a group of Hollywood folks have gone off to Iran to make nice with fellow filmmakers. Iranian filmmakers are hoping to use this opportunity to expose them to Iranian films.

The Hollywood folks probably expected to sit and sing a round of Kumbaya. Instead they Iranian government demanded an apology for films that insulted Iran. Among those films was one about an American woman married to an Iranian man. The mother had to smuggle her daughter out of Iran when the Iranians would not let her leave with her. It's a true story... but I won't be surprised if the Hollywood delegation apologizes for it.

The attack on American films did not seem to phase some of the filmmakers. Phil Alden Robinson, director and writer of Field of Dreams, who rather dreamily declared that "today is my birthday and I cannot think of any other place I wanted to be other than here."

The NYTimes placed the story of the Hollywood folks' visit next to an article about an NPR reporter who has been arrested and detained by the Iranians. As of this morning nothing has been heard from her.

Did/ will the filmmakers ask about her?

Did/ will they make it clear that everything about their profession calls for freedom of creativity and freedom of the press?

Did/ will they even mention her?

Did/ will they say that nothing will change as long as Iran is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists?

I predict that they will return full of rapture for Iran and the wonderful country that it is. They will probably suggest we should ignore the Holocaust denial and threats against Israel and antisemitism that spews forth from that country. [And the open attacks on homosexuals.]

Ken Waltzer's Essay is Back on HNN Despite Harris Salomon's Best Efforts


History News Network has posted Ken Waltzer's essay on Herman Rosenblat despite Harris Salomon's efforts to keep it off HNN. HNN's editors have also posted a response to Harris Salomon's complaints.

Revelations About the Toll Raoul Wallenberg's Disappearance Took on His Family and Sweden's Failure to Pursue It's Most Honored Citizen


The Wall Street Journal has a lengthy article exposing the terrible toll the attempt to find out what happened to Raoul Wallenberg took on his family. It is a horrifying tale and reminiscent of the brutality of the Soviet regime [and post-Soviet as well... after all Putin could clear up the mystery in a nano-second].

In addition to the Soviets, who were the main culprits, Sweden failed to do much to pursue Wallenberg's fate. This constitutes an enduring blot on Sweden's reputation.

Wallenberg demonstrated how different the story of the Holocaust would have been had there been more people such as him.

Stern Magazine: "Bischof Williamson ist ein Idiot"


Even for non-German speakers the headline "Bischof Williamson ist ein Idiot" in Stern magazine should be self explanatory. I must admit that, using -- as the magazine puts it -- American "directness," I provided the magazine with the headline.

It may have been a bit blunt.... but certainly seems accurate to me.

By the way, idiots can be dangerous too.

Lady Renouf Profiled in Times [London]: Williamson is Her Prize


A profile of a woman who found her niche as a friend of members of the rogues gallery of Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The United States Will NOT Participate in Durban II


According to the JTA, the United States will not be participating in the Durban II conference. This is the right move. Durban I was an festival of antisemitism and hatred of Israel. Durban II promised to be more of the same.

When I was in London last week at an International Conference of Parliamentarians on Antisemitism, the Italian Foreign Minister said that if Durban II promises to be like Durban I, Italy would probably pull out.

This move by the United States probably means that Italy and other European nations will follow suit.

Canada long ago announced it was not going.

Here's Another Example of Racism


Edited 3:58 p.m.
So some commenters have been asking "What's racism?" Here's another example provided in an email sent out by the Mayor of a Orange Country, California town.

The title of the email was "No Easter egg hunt this year."

The mayor claimed he did not know of the stereotype of Blacks and watermelons. That's reason enough for him not to be mayor. And he was dense enough to send it to a Black woman.

[Added: so if he did not know of the stereotype why did he put watermelons on the lawn of the White House. This guy is so dumb that his lies only dig his hole deeper.]

He apologized and resigned [more than we can say for so-called Bishop Williamson].

Vatican Not Satisfied With [Fooled by] Williamson's Pseudo- Apology


Apparently even the Vatican was not satisfied with Williamson's "if I hurt you by saying what the evidence showed, I am sorry" apology.

The question is: Did Williamson think we were all stupid and would be hoodwinked by his so-called apology?

And who drafted it for him David Irving? Lady Renouf?

This guy is the gift that keeps on giving.... Though, truth be told, I would be happy to never hear of him again.

And -- to those who have asked -- he has never answered my email....

Bishop Williamson Sees the Light [Or So He Says... And I Have a Bridge in Brooklyn that's for Sale]


Edited 3:09 p.m.A few days ago in an interview with NPR, I said that I was sure Williamson would soon announce that he had "seen the light" and turned away from his Holocaust denial. And, as predicted, it has come to pass.I am not sure if his SSPX colleagues had read him the riot act or threatened to throw him in the nearest river but it seems that that is precisely what has happened.I give it as much gravitas as I do his claim the Holocaust is a myth.[Added: In other words, lest there be any doubt: I do not take anything he says seriously. Were he do wish me a good morning, I would look out the window first to see if the sun were indeed up.] Remember that one of the first people he contacted upon his return from Argentina was David Irving and his sidekick so-called Lady Renouf.Here is the full text of his statement.The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.+Richard WilliamsonLondon, 26 February 2009.[...]